Showing posts from January, 2010

Comics I Read: Catching Up #16

World’s Finest 1-4: All these team-ups were fun, especially the New Batman/Kal-El story in the last issue (the ending of which hints at a potentially important connection to the “New Krypton” storyline.) It’s hard to make any comment about the “Blackest Night” books at this point without giving away at least some of the plot. I’ll try not to reveal any huge surprises, but if you’d rather be completely unspoiled then you may want to skip the rest of this entry. Blackest Night 6: Not a whole lot of plot advancement in this issue, but I did like the choices of the characters for the “New Guardians” and their new, different colored, costumes a lot. Blackest Night: Wonder Woman 1-2: I’m a big fan of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run, and the rematch with Black Lantern Maxwell Lord at Arlington National Cemetery in #1 is as good as any of his regular WW issues. However, #2 is the first Greg Rucka comic in a long time (maybe ever) that I didn’t like. I hated the “it was all a dream” ending,

Comics I Read: Catching Up #15

S.W.O.R.D. 2-3: Sadly, since this is one of my favorite new book launches of the last year, it is already cancelled – #5 will be the last issue. (“Doctor Voodoo” has had its run similarly truncated.) I have mixed feelings about this; I certainly don’t expect Marvel to publish books that aren’t profitable, but there’s an emotional investment from the reader too and it feels wrong to solicit that investment in an ongoing series (with interviews, podcasts, etc.) and then stop it after a miniseries length. However, I also feel that fans today are too involved in the business details of the publishers, so I’m really not sure what the appropriate response is other than disappointment. Anyway, Kieron Gillen’s blog entry linked above says a trade is planned, so I recommend you get that when it comes out instead of spending for the individual issues. (If anybody at Marvel had said that increased sales could have an effect on the cancellation I would say buy them, but they noticeably have not s


We've been hearing about the AMC network's plans for a WALKING DEAD tv series based on the popular Image comic book. Now things are moving forward as a director has been announced - - - and what a catch he is! I'm getting excited about this show already. You can read the details here . ( Edited by admin to fix the link.)

Figurines of the Week

I don’t usually like 3D representations of the Peanuts characters. They’re perfectly designed for the page – even the “Charlie Brown Christmas” animators had to figure out perspectives of the characters that Schulz had never drawn – so they always look weird to me in “real life”. However, I may end up ordering these because they look terrific and I love the 1950’s versions of the characters. (The 50’s Charlie Brown pose above is straight out of the very first strip, if memory serves.)

My Brush with “Logan’s Run”

Mike’s excellent “Logan’s Run” posts here and here reminded me of a story I shared with some of you by email a while back, in the days before the blog. I went to see the movie with my Dad when it first came out, but he never had an interest in SF and I was frankly too young (about 9 years old) for it so we got bored and left before the end. Later, I discovered the comic and not only fell in love with George Perez’ art but I “got” the story because either they dumbed it down or I was better able to follow it at my own pace. Anyway, my enthusiasm led to the only letter I ever wrote to a comic which was published in Marvel’s Logan’s Run #7 in 1977: Yes, they printed full addresses in those days – my family doesn’t live there anymore, by the way, so don’t bother planning a visit – and even though they printed the wrong house number that somehow didn’t stop the hate mail from a random jerk who disagreed with me about the movie, thus ending my letter writing career.

ORIGINS: LOGAN’S FATHER SPEAKS OUT . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A CONVERSATION WITH WILLIAM F. NOLAN, co-creator of the LOGAN’S RUN novel,  on the return of LOGAN’S RUN to comics and film, an update on some additional projects, and various other matters . . . . . . . . . . (photos courtesy of Jason Brock at JaSunni Productions LLC)           There’s nothing  unusual these days to hear of individuals who remain active well beyond their retirement years.  Still, these persons of note do not represent the majority of their age group (not yet, anyway)  so they deserve all the respect and admiration they receive.  I recently had a phone conversation with an 82-year old phenom who’s energy level absolutely surprised me. He gained even more respect after learning how active he remains while still finding time to stay healthy, eat well, exercise and balance his challenging physical and mental regimen.  Even more remarkable and admirable is the passion I heard in his voice when speaking of recent projects related to his  original character, Logan 6.

Comics I Read: Catching Up #14

Wolverine Weapon X 6-9: We’ve seen the “main character in a mental hospital” story before, but Jason Aaron is a good enough writer to make it interesting anyway, and Yanick Paquette’s pencils give it almost a Vertigo book feel. The dialogue has just the right amount of horror movie crazy (“He’s…he’s got chainsaws for hands.” “I know, isn’t he just amazing?”), but still lets us be sympathetic to Logan. Not what I’d want every month necessarily, but it’s way different than the first arc which shows that this book will have a good range of story types, and the ending has an interesting connection to Wolverine’s “Weapon X” past. Wolverine Origins 40-43: As much as I’m not thrilled with the whole Romulus idea, I do like that he was able to beat Logan easily and that Logan has to resort to unconventional thinking to get rid of him. The Logan-Banner-Skaar relationship is fun (Banner: “My son’s problems could potentially destroy the planet.” Logan: “Well, ya got me there…”), and the other a

THE OTHER LOGAN RETURNS - - no claws required

          I’m very happy to see a return of more pure science fiction series in comics.  As much as I may enjoy the Annihilation Saga at Marvel and Adam Strange at DC - - they still seem  like superhero tales, just transported to outer space locales.  However, series like the adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?  from Boom Studios get me more excited  and prove that there is a market in comics for science-fiction themed tales that don’t involve super-powered characters.             Back in my early popular culture exploration days I read a science fiction novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson (first published in 1967) that made an impression on me on several levels. For one, it was a fast-paced and thoroughly engaging thriller with lots of action, creative characters and situations.  On a deeper level, it posed some semi-serious questions about our values and culture and supplied an extreme solution to how overpopulation and depletion of

Extra Support For Top Shelf

NOTES:  It was less than a year ago that Top Shelf published CENTURY, the latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tale by Alan Moore.  That was my first introduction to Top Shelf Comix, an independent company dedicated to bringing worthy independent works to publication.  Shortly after that  I discovered great reading by Robert Vendetti, Jeff Lemire and others.  It’s great to see a small company get an influx of capital to help with future growth and ensure that they can continue to do what they do best.  It’s also encouraging to learn that the principal owners who started the business will continue to have control of the company.  What follows is an excerpt from the official Top Shelf press release: January 13, 2010 - - - Atlanta / Portland / New York - -  Co-Publishers Chris Staros and Brett Warnock of independent graphic novel and comic book publisher Top Shelf Productions ( ) announced today that it has entered into a capital investment deal with new media

Prolonged Annihilation

          I love talking about and sharing favorite books with friends, especially when I help them discover something they might have missed otherwise and vice versa.  I appreciate getting  recommendations that help me cut through the stacks to get to the really good works.           Now that I’ve gotten comfortable in the role of reviewer I also feel compelled to write about something that was either loaned or given to me as a result of those friendly recommendations.  In fact, I often feel downright guilty if I don’t at least leave some personal comments or feedback with the lender/giver.           I’ve had a big energetic raccoon on my shoulder for some months whispering in my ear and heckling me about this very same thing.  So, I’m getting it off my back right now.          Several  months back I reviewed a random issue of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on this site  ( see    for the full details).  In f

The JSA is on the air in 2010

I never thought this would happen, but the Justice Society of America will be on television twice this month. First up is Cartoon Network’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold , which has already made me happy this year with appearances by the Challengers of the Unknown and Enemy Ace, this Friday at 7:30pm. Then of course, is the big two-hour Smallville “Absolute Justice” event on the CW on Friday, January 22. (There’s also a Teen Titans-centered episode of Brave & Bold that night.) Correction: The air date for "Absolute Justice" is actually Friday, Feb. 5. Sorry for the confusion. Edited to add: The JSA Brave & Bold episode is available in its entirety, including the Detective Chimp teaser, on  Cartoon Network's web site .


                  Let’s take a pause now from the blackest of nights, and darker reigns and sieges to reflect on a “sleeper” title.  You know what I mean.  Some books don’t generate a lot of buzz but just go about their business and remain consistently good and interesting month after month.           Ten years ago for me that book was THOR (Volume 2) under the capable hands of scripter Dan Jurgens and a revolving stable of artists including Kubert Jr., Romita Jr., Raney, Starlin and Immonen.           Usually an ever-changing artist assignment on a book spells trouble for the scripter and maybe for the title as well.  (Of course, revolving writers is an even surer way to kiss it goodbye.)  With Jurgens on THOR it didn’t matter.  He seemed able to perfectly describe what he wanted and evoke the best images from the artist no matter who he was working with.  Jurgens also put his own personal stamp on the title, and set his work apart from but equal to the best stories from Lee and

Comics I Read: Catching Up #13

Batman 690-694: The silly Two-Face-as-Batman costume at the end of #690 put me off enough that I let the next few issues sit around for a while, but Winick’s ending in #691 rescued it and I’m intrigued by the mystery he set up at the end of that issue. I’m enjoying the Tony Daniel issues more than I expected so far, given that I wasn’t in love with “Battle for the Cowl”. The Dick/Selina scenes and the Dick/Barbara/Huntress triangle are great, and the villains are interesting. The art tends a little towards the overdramatic, especially the last pages of #693 and #694, but overall is excellent. Amazing Spider-Man 614-616: The ending to Waid’s Electro story is great, and has some surprising permanent changes to Spidey’s (OK, Peter’s) world. Fred Van Lente’s two-part Sandman story is also terrific, featuring the best Jonah/Robbie scene in years as well as showing that doing the right thing doesn’t always have a pleasant result. There is sort of an attempt to explain the various changes i

Robert Kirkman: Invincible, Walking Dead, Wolf-Man

I wasn't actually a huge fan of Robert Kirkman when I first started reading his books.  He was competent, sure, but I didn't see the appeal-- The Irredeemable Ant-Man was a boring side story in the middle of  Civil War and  The Initiative (although I've since changed my mind about this), and his  Ultimate X-Men run was, in many places, a mixed bag (although I did very much enjoy his "Phoenix?" storyline).  And  Marvel Zombies  just seemed like a ridiculous idea--not that I bothered to try it at the time. Now, though?  I've completely reevaluated my opinion on his work, and when his name is attached to a project, I'm far more likely to give it a look.  I don't know if I'd classify him as a master storyteller or a comics icon--but he's very skilled, he has an incredible knack for dialog, and he writes stories that, no matter how ridiculous, seem real .  In a medium where characters frequently violate the rules of physics, that's not alway

Civil War dominates the decade

The Comics Chronicles has just released a ranking of the top selling individual books for the decade just ended, based on sales figures/advance orders reported by Diamond Distribution. You can see the entire list here: Topping the ranks at #1 and with over 500,000 copies sold is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583 from January 2009, the Barack Obama commemorative issue. Nothing else comes close, as the #2 issue - - CIVIL WAR #2 in June 2006 - - - sold 341,856 copies. What's significant is that CIVIL WAR dominates the upper echelon of these rankings, with all six issues of this ground-breaking mini-series crashing the top 10 positions at #2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9. Also, Marvel rules as well, with 8 titles among the top 10. (The other is CAPTAIN AMERICA #25, March 2007). DC just manages to grab two slots with ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN #1 (July 2005) at #8 and INFINITE CRISIS#1 (October 2005) at #10. As you might expect Marvel

Spokesman of the Week?

Will Stan Lee become Disney's front man for Marvel? Disney expert Jim Hill talks about what’s really behind the Mouse’s decision to acquire 10% of POW! Entertainment last week -- read more at

Book & Blog of the Week

I was going to write about the paperback edition of “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade” the next time I did a round of book reviews but since kids comics have been a topic here recently and professional comic writer Dan Mishkin just wrote about this book, I thought I’d just link to his review at the Kids Read Comics! blog.

Hellblazer: Pandemonium

A NEW NOVEL FEATURING JOHN CONSTANTINE by JAMIE DELANO and JOCKO           I haven’t read every single story arc and graphic novel featuring John Constantine, The Hellblazer .  But I have read enough to believe that I have an appreciation for the character and a fair idea of what makes him tick.   If I was making a recommendation to a new reader and could only suggest one book or story, then I’m confident that HELLBLAZER: PANDEMONIUM would serve as a  great example of what John Constantine is all about.   Anything and everything that defines him is included in this original graphic novel, scheduled to be published in February 2010 in a hardcover edition.           There’s still time to get this included in your February Previews order. If you are a collector of Hellblazer this is essential.  If you enjoy the occasional reading of John Constantine’s exploits you will want to get this.  If you’ve been curious and will be reading about him for the very first time then this is a great